I want you to rate how you should feel after you finish a meal. On a scale of one to ten, with one being starving to death, hungriest you’ve ever been in your life, and ten being full to the brim, couldn’t take another bite, what number do you think you should be ?
My first thought was, maybe a seven or an eight? Full, but not stuffed.
I was wrong.
In fact, the answer is… five. That delicate balance where you are no longer hungry, but aren’t full either- largely due to there being a delay between you eating enough, and your brain registering you’ve eaten enough. It takes about 20 minutes from the time that you start eating for your body to tell you that you’ve had enough.
So how can we make sure we are getting in the right portions?
Make sure you start a meal hungry
This might sound like common sense, but we often will eat just because it’s lunch time, or we are bored, or because food is available. Learn to listen to your body- if you had a big breakfast, and 12pm rolls around and your stomach isn’t growling yet, either delay lunch a little or choose a light option like a clear soup or salad instead.
Sip on water between bites, chew slowly and thoroughly, put your fork down in between bites, eat at he dinner table and have a conversation with your family instead of mindlessly staring at the TV.
Pay attention to your body
When you stop feeling hungry, put down your fork. Not, you don’t need to finish your plate. No, you don’t need to stop eating only once you feel full. This is the number one skill you can learn to succeed at losing weight. When you are at a five, that’s when your meal is finished.
Choose the right meals
Meals that get digested quickly are going to work against you for this strategy. White bread, white rice, white crackers, processed sugars, and low carb meals will often leave you hungry within an hour to two.
Instead, ensure you choose a combination of low GI carbohydrates like wholegrains, whole fruit, starchy veggies, low fat dairy, plus a small amount of protein such as an egg, lean chicken, fish, meat, lentils or nuts. Non-starchy vegetables are fantastic for fibre content, which keeps you fuller for longer.